Eileen Damianakos is sitting in a booth in the back, by the kitchen window where untold clubhouse sandwiches and hamburger steaks have come into the world, and waiting for the end.
It was the last day at the Windmill Restaurant, after all, the Selkirk Avenue diner that has been slinging out home-cooked meals since Gus Damianakos took over the joint in 1970.
"Lonely," she said, when asked how it would feel when the doors closed for good on Sunday. "Sad. I hate to see it go."
Eileen started out as a waitress in the early 1970s. She ended up living and working with Gus for 45 years, until he died last July at age 79.
Gus worked until nearly the end, too. Eileen only stopped working as a cook and waitress five months ago.
For decades, they awoke together at 4:30 a.m., opened the restaurant at 6 a.m., and didn't close the doors until 7 p.m. Seven days a week.
On Sunday night, however, the last North Ender — roast beef, ham, chicken, Swiss and special sauce ($8) — would be history. So Eileen spent the day in the back booth, greeting the customers who had patronized the diner since the 1970s decor, including faux wood panel, was in fashion.
"She caused my heart attack feeding me so good," said one man, who was back on Sunday for a last supper of pork sausage.
"A lot of people are coming to say goodbye," Eileen said. "Amazing."
Geoff Walls, who has taken his son Troy to the restaurant since "he was in a stroller," asked for a trinket at the counter (a small ceramic horse), just for a keepsake.
"Everyone from the North End comes here and we all get together," Walls said. "I'm really sad it's going to be gone. It just sucks that it won't be the same."
For Irene Sam, the restaurant was a source of much-needed income for more than 20 years, both before and after her husband died in the mid-1980s. Sam worked as a waitress and often brought her kids to help clean the restaurant at night.
On Sunday afternoon, Sam and her kids were taking family photos outside the Windmill.
"It's just the memories, really," Sam said. "It was just awesome. And Gus was real nice."
It's also been an emotional week for Gus's daughter, Angela, who was a toddler when her father bought the Windmill. At the age of five, she was following around waitresses and pretending to take orders. At 18, she was working full time.
"I'm seeing faces I haven't seen in years, and it's bittersweet," Angela said. "It's heart-breaking knowing the impact my dad had on them. It showed the relationship he developed with these people.
Added Eileen: "He was the godfather of the North End. He made the business."
Gus was the kind of boss who would chortle if his staff came in hungover. He'd even cook them breakfast.
"He's make us bacon and eggs," Marie Neeth chuckled. "We sobered up in no time."
That was years ago, when the restaurant and the staff were much younger. Neeth began working at the Windmill at the age of 17 and has stayed for the last 36 years.
In all that time, Neeth never had a vacation. Never travelled. And when she got off work at the Windmill, she'd go work a night shift at a fast-food joint or a Chinese restaurant.
So what will Neeth do now?
"I have no idea, to tell you the truth," she replied. "I'll wait and see what happens. At least I won't have to work weekends. Now it's time to take it easy."
A new restaurant will open in the same location in a few weeks, with different owners and a renovated building.
Gone will be the old counter stools with the vinyl red covering, the paintings and photos on the wall and the Jukeboxes in each booth with tunes from Wham!, Britney Spears and Hootie and the Blowfish.
"Different pictures, maybe, a little paint job here and there," Angela said. "But this has always been this."
It's a decor with enough character to be featured in 14 locally shot movies, including Capote, Shall We Dance and Horseman. In the latter, shot in 2009, Eileen appeared in the movie as a waitress serving main character Dennis Quaid. He told her to "F--- off."
"That's why I call her (Eileen) my movie star," said Celia Peters, who washed dishes at the Windmill for four years.
Angela Damianakos said her father would have been happy, noting he was trying to sell the restaurant before he died.
"It's what he wanted," she said. "Put the Windmill to rest with pops. It was his blood, sweat and tears. And Eileen, too. She was his right hand."
And what will she miss?
"Everything," Angela said. "I miss my dad. I'll miss the people who raised me, the friends I made, the jokes — just the vitality of the neighborhood itself."
"It's going to be emotional," she said, of the grill going cold. "I'll probably be here by my lonesome and have a good cry."
But then she paused and added, "I still have to clean up."